Book Review + Giveaway: The Night Has Claws by Kat Kruger

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I’m delighted today to be a part of The Night Has Claws blog tour hosted by Fierce Ink Press. I also have an ecopy of the book to give away so please make sure you keep reading right to the end of this post for details of how to enter!

Title: The Night Has Claws (The Magdeburg Trilogy #2)
Author: Kat Kruger
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult
Publisher: Fierce Ink Press
Publication Date: September 2013
Pages: 199
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
What happens when you’re the thing that goes bump in the night?

Connor Lewis and Arden LaTène are experiencing a reversal of fortunes. Arden, once a prominent werewolf, has been cured against his will. As a result, he’s now considered dead by his former pack and has lost his longtime girlfriend in the mix. Connor, a newly created werewolf whose DNA has inadvertently led to the creation of the cure, now has to make some important decisions about his future and is not sure who to trust. Should he join a pack or try to go it alone?

When Connor is summoned by the Hounds of God to testify against the human scientist who developed the cure, he’s forced to choose sides. Comprised of humans bitten by werewolves, the Hounds have been the lawmakers and enforcers for hundreds of years, ensuring werewolves don’t endanger the lives of humans and exacting justice upon those who do. On the other hand, the pack werewolves have been persecuted for centuries and are seeking to tip the balance of power. Adding to his confusion is Madison Dallaire, the girl Connor has complicated feelings for, who has embarked on a path of corporate espionage.

In the second book of The Magdeburg Trilogy, Connor’s loyalties are pushed to the limits as he faces the challenges of being a modern werewolf caught in the grip of an ancient feud.

My Review:

After loving the first book in the Magdeburg Trilogy, The Night has Teeth,  I had high hopes for the second book. I’m delighted to tell you that The Night has Claws did not disappoint. Incorporating the characters I had adored with more of Kruger’s delightful writing and incredible take on werewolves, this book is even better than I was hoping.

Conner and Arden have both been bitten recently – only with entirely different outcomes. Conner is still trying to navigate his new life as one of the fanged and furry whereas Arden has been left for dead by his pack. Kruger has a great way with words. There are moments when I was reading this book when I was just struck with how much I enjoyed how she would phrase things. And how she would describe the world that Conner has found himself in the middle of. The way he discovers the way of the wolves and we the readers get to see things as he does is brilliant. These wolves do things are just as crazy to him as they are to me and there’s something about that I find comforting and somewhat disturbing. This is also one of those series where the setting adds to the ambiance. This is not a book which could be set just anywhere but rather the European influence becomes a part of the book – and that’s something I truly enjoyed about this book.

There’s a lot of young adult books around dealing with werewolves but Kruger’s treatment of the supernatural hounds sets this book apart. Whilst Conner may think that werewolf society is a little messed up, I found that these wolves are interesting and have a great history surrounding their condition. I like the born vs. bitten differences and the strange customs which the wolves maintain. These are not sweet and romantic dog but rather a little more gothic and bloodthirsty. They reminded me a little of Kelley Armstrong’s wolves in her Women of the Otherworld series in a good way.

If I was to describe this book using one word, that word would be “more”. More excitement, more of the characters I love to read about, more back story and – I just want more! The Night Has Claws is a brilliant follow-up to the first book in the series and has me eagerly anticipating the third and final book in this horrifyingly good trilogy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Fierce Ink Press

About the Author

Kat Kruger is a freelance writer and social media consultant with a degree in public relations from Mount Saint Vincent University. The Night Has Teeth is her first novel and won the 34th Atlantic Writing Competition. She splits her time between Toronto and Halifax with her husband.

Website | Twitter  | Goodreads

GIVEAWAY!

Fierce Ink Press is generously offering one ebook copy of the The Night Has Claws for me to give away. Open internationally and ending one week from today (on the 2nd of October 2013) to enter all you need to do is comment on this post and I’ll randomly select one commenter to win the ebook copy of this spectacular book!

Book Review: I Wolf by Matt Boyd

Title: I Wolf
Author: Matt Boyd
Genre: Supernatural, action 
Publisher: ABC Books
Publication Date: 1 June 2013 
Pages: 279
Rating: 2.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old Romy suffers from a disease that will send him mad…and ultimately kill him. His last hope is to travel to an isolated castle in Austria, where a cure is promised. But the treatment is drastic. Romy is turned into a werewolf.

When Romy meets Antonia, beautiful, headstrong and a natural-born werewolf, he slowly starts to come to terms with life as a lycanthrope. But then a spate of grisly night-time murders are reported and wild animals are suspected. What has Romy become?

My Review:

Matt Boyd’s debut novel, I Wolf, is an exciting tale featuring one of my favourite supernatural creatures – werewolves! Romy (aka. Romulus) is a sixteen year old who has been facing a death sentence since before he could remember. He’s had a terminal illness hanging over his head and no sign of a cure… until now. Romy’s father has found a secretive, exclusive and somewhat mysterious program in Austria who might be able to save Romy. Not completely sure what the treatment entails, Romy and his family set off from Australia and travel to Europe in hopes that the program may save his sanity where everything else has failed before.

I Wolf features a fantastic breed of werewolves. The account of the shifters history and just what it means to be a wolf in this universe is strong. Romy’s feelings whilst running in his beast form was one of my favourite parts of the novel to read – it was rich with thoughts and feelings. The romance angle between Romy and Antonia felt a little off-putting and awkward – adding nothing to the overall plot as it didn’t feel natural for the characters. The secondary characters of Nat and Dimitri added a lot to the story and brought out Romy’s humanity – which I felt was a little lacking even before the treatment.

This story is a little raw in terms of emotion. I thought that Romy was an accurate narrator with regards to the werewolf lessons and action but he was a little lacking when it came to emotion and feeling. There are some rather terrible and dramatic things that happen to him after arriving in Austria but he doesn’t let the emotions rise to the surface and rather moves on with the next course of action.

I thought that the flow of this novel at a little disconcerting at times with there not being a solid direction of just what the characters were doing. But there were other times when I was there with Romy and his pack as they went on their adventures.

Overall, I found this book to be a great quick read and I loved how Matt Boyd created his particular breed of werewolves. I feel like this book would be devoured by younger readers as it lacked a little depth and emotion for me personally but I think I’d have loved this book back when I was 12 or so.

Thanks to HarperCollins and Netgalley for the digital review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Book Depository

Book Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Title: Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1)
Author: Kiersten White
Genre: paranormal romance, vampires, urban fantasy, werewolves, magic
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: October 2010
Pages: 320 pages
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

My Review:

Evie is a very interesting character – she’s confident about her job but at the same time she’s just naive teenager trying to make her way in the world. Having lived inside the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA) since she was a little girl, werewolves, vampires and fae are a part of her every day life. Her best friend is a mermaid and Evie is the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

Then one day everything changes. There’s a break in at the Agency and Evie comes face to face with a paranormal she’s never seen the likes of before. A shapeshifter who can take the form of any person or paranormal being. Good thing Evie can see though his shifts.

When paranromals are being murdered, a stranger mysterious shape changing boy infiltrating Evie’s thoughts and Evie’s abilities mutating – her life will never be the same. And to think – Evie thought the world was boring and would give anything to have a locker and go to Prom…

This book has a lot of promise. It’s a fun world where the fae are manipulative and somewhat sinister. Vampires are neither sophisticated nor do they sparkle. And werewolves are no more than the hired help who get furry once a month.

Evie is both jaded by the world she lives in and yet completely naive and excited by the mundane. I thought it was adorable that her favourite show was a Gossip Girl type teen drama. Who would have thought a girl could be so excited by school lockers and driver’s licenses! But whilst I adored the sweet side of Evie, I found her professional demeanour somewhat off-putting. With her trusty pink taser “Tasey” by her side, Evie felt way too immature and slightly irritating.

The shape shifting boy – Lend – was the stuff teenage dreams are made off. He was the prefect match for Evie. The other minor characters were interesting and I liked the small plot deviations they brought about. Vivian was vibrant and I can’t wait to see her in the future.

For a first book in a series – Paranormalcy does a great job at setting the scene. I loved the variety of creatures and how they interacted with each other – especially the Fae! I already have a copy of the second book, Supernaturally, and can’t wait to start reading.

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 

Read as part of the:

Eclectic Reader Challenge (urban fantasy)

2013 TBR Reading Challenge


Book Review: ReVamped by Ada Adams

Title: ReVamped (Angel Creek #1)
Author: Ada Adams
Genre: Paranormal Romance; Vampires; Urban Fantasy
Publisher: CreateSpace; Amazon Digital Publishing
Publication Date: Feburary 2012 
Pages: 291 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Read a free excerpt containing the prologue and first two chapters: here

Synopsis (from goodreads):
A simple mission turned deadly.

Nineteen-year-old vampire Dawn has led a sheltered life within the confines of her father’s presidential headquarters. Upon being sent on a mission to revamp four goofy misfits into guardians of a peaceful little town of Angel Creek, Dawn believes that all her dreams have finally come true. What starts off as a simple task, turns into something unexpected, changing Dawn’s life forever and leading the action-loving, thrill-seeking vampire teen on a path of mystery, danger and intrigue.

When a human girl is kidnapped by a group of rogue vamps, Dawn discovers that there is more going on in Angel Creek than meets the eye. And it all connects to Ethan, the cute newcomer who seems too perfect to be true, Sebastian, the mysterious vampire with a turbulent past, and even Dawn herself. Dawn must not only succeed in revamping the troubled recruits, but must also prevent the vampire race from being overtaken by a malevolent villain who has a strange and obsessive fascination with her. As threat escalates, romance blooms, and ghosts from her past begin to surface, Dawn is sure of only one thing: her life will never be the same.

My Review:

Dawn has been training and waiting all her life to be given a mission – and finally that dream comes true. Her father, the Vampire President, sends her to organize and “reVamp” the four remaining Angel Creek vampires into the town’s guardians. Easy! Or so Dawn thought until she meets her newest recruits and finds them to be a little more Breakfast Club than Fight Club. Nevertheless, this is what Dawn has been waiting for and helps the four train to be the best vampire guardians they can be. Trouble arrives in the form of a kidnapping, a secret history and the strange bad boy who lives in the middle of the woods. Dawn and her misfit vampires need everything they’ve got if they’re going to be able to protect Angel Creek from its enemies…

This is one of those books that I picked up and finished before I even realized it. The style is so easy and fun to read. The characters are very likeable too. I adore Dawn from the start. She’s a strong, independent warrior who has a softer side to her as well. I found her gang of misfit vampires to be delightful although at times they felt a little too stereotypical. I love a bad boy and Sebastian was no exception. He’s gorgeous, a little broody and I thought he was a perfect match for Dawn.

I was surprised when I reached the end of the book that all the events happen over a month time-frame  The pacing felt right and natural to me. I found myself a little shocked that the inept vampires of Angel Creek were able to transform themselves in that time.

For me, one of the strongest parts of this novel is the world that is created. Vampires are out in the open and even competing in their own reality TV competitions. The differences between Born and turned vampires were interesting and consistent across the novel.

This is a fun book to read. A great addition to the YA vampire genre with an interesting plot and some fantastic banter exchanged between the characters.

I’m extremely lucky to be participating in the blog tour for the second novel in the Angel Creek series (ReAwakened). Look out for a review on the 29th of November.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon

Book Review: The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong

Title: The Reckoning (Darkest Powers Trilogy #3)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, magic, werewolves, witches, ghosts
Publisher: HarperCollins; Atom
Publication Date: April 2010
Pages: 391
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
My name is Chloe Saunders. I’m fifteen, and I would love to be normal.

But normal is one thing I’m not.

For one thing, I’m having these feelings for a certain antisocial werewolf and his sweet-tempered brother–who just happens to be a sorcerer–but, between you and me, I’m leaning toward the werewolf.

Not normal.

My friends and I are also on the run from an evil corporation that wants to get rid of us–permanently.

Definitely not normal.

And finally, I’m a genetically altered necro-mancer who can raise the dead, rotting corpses and all, without even trying.

As far away from normal as it gets.

My Review:

The troubled teens are still on the run from the sinister Edison Group; Chloe’s necromancy skills are getting stronger and stronger, Tori is able to perform magic that witches many times her age can’t achieve without incantations and Derek’s changes are getting more intense and more frequent. Add her romantic entanglement with both Simon AND Derek – things couldn’t get much more complicated for Chloe Saunders.

After holding up at a safe house but not feeling all that safe at the moment, Chloe has to cope with an evil teenage ghost haunting the house and a necromancer mentor who doesn’t believe Chloe’s skills. Along with the threat of the Edison Group hanging over them, the teens grow more and more suspicious of anyone and everyone until… at last – one way or another – they get to the bottom of the Lyle House mystery…

I’m always anxious when I get to the last book in a series/trilogy that I’m enjoying. I want to know just how it’s going to end but at the same time I don’t want to have to leave the characters.

Chloe has grown so much since the first book. Her powers are developing experientially and she’s come a long way from the stuttering fearful girl into the woman who overcomes her fears when it comes to protecting the ones she loves.

The other characters are great in their own ways too – I’m not sure after the first book I ever thought I could like Tori but she’s grown on me and I’m glad that the others accepted her into their merry crew of adolescent misfits.

I loved the amount of action that occurs throughout this book. There’s evil angry ghosts, get away plans, werewolves and so much more. This was a fantastic instalment in the trilogy however – I didn’t love the ending. Or rather, I didn’t like that the trilogy was ending. There’s so much more I want to know. But I did love how all the drama came to climax and the resulting resolution was fitting to the series.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository


Book Review: Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Title: Infinity (Chronicles of Nick #1)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Genre: Paranormal. urban fantasy, zombies, shifters, vampires,
Publisher: Atom 
Publication Date: May 2010
Pages: 306
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
At fourteen, Nick Gautier thinks he knows everything about the world around him. Streetwise, tough and savvy, his quick sarcasm is the stuff of legends. . .until the night when his best friends try to kill him. Saved by a mysterious warrior who has more fighting skills than Chuck Norris, Nick is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters: immortal vampire slayers who risk everything to save humanity.

Nick quickly learns that the human world is only a veil for a much larger and more dangerous one: a world where the captain of the football team is a werewolf and the girl he has a crush on goes out at night to stake the undead.

But before he can even learn the rules of this new world, his fellow students are turning into flesh eating zombies. And he’s next on the menu.

As if starting high school isn’t hard enough. . .now Nick has to hide his new friends from his mom, his chainsaw from the principal, and keep the zombies and the demon Simi from eating his brains, all without getting grounded or suspended. How in the world is he supposed to do that?

My Review:

I’m a socially awkward mandork.

Nick Gautier is considered to be a loser. Born to a mother who has to work as a stripper just to make ends meet, he’s been looked down upon by everyone he’s ever met. When his friends decide to mug an elderly tourist couple, Nick has to decide whether he wants to be the street scum that people think he is or to be the bigger man who his mother has raised him to be.

Unfortunately for him, his friends don’t take too kindly to his interference and Nick now has the gunshot wound to prove it. Enter Kyrian Hunter, tall dark and mysterious stranger who not only makes sure that Nick gets the medical attention he needs as well as paying for it and giving Nick an after school job as his assistant which pays more in a week than his mother makes in months.

But there’s something strange brewing in Nick’s school. The star-footballer just tried to take a bite out of his best friend and the coach tried to snack on the principal’s brains.

Between the zombie apocalypse at the high school and the crazy cast of characters that Nick’s been introduced since working for Kyrian, things have gotten deadly and a grounding from his mother is the least of his worries.

I enjoyed this book. Zombies aren’t something I’m all that familiar with and I did enjoy reading about just how scary they can be when they’re on mass and backing their prey into a corner. Nick is a very engaging lead character. He’s sarcastic and somewhat angry at his circumstances. He’s not always politically correct and he’s somewhat charming in spite of all this. I enjoyed his rapport with his mother – despite finding Cherise’s nagging and over the top protectiveness a little overwhelming at times.

Bubba was a very pleasant surprise. A computer tech guy who runs a gun shop and has two pieces of advice that he advocates for: “Shoot first then ask questions” and “Double tap just for good measure. Better safe than sorry“. I think his side-kick, Mark, was just as amusing. They added some much-needed humour and comic relief when the threat of zombies was getting a little too much.

In some ways this was a strange novel to read. I have prior knowledge of Nick from reading Kenyon’s Dark Hunter’s series – an adult paranormal romance series. So many of the characters were familiar faces as well as their supernatural secrets. But this book is so much more than just a prequel telling Nick’s story. It’s a chance for Nick to redeem himself and to change everything that’s happened in his other future – which I’m glad of because things were looking extremely dark for him.

I do wonder if someone with no knowledge of the adult series would be able to keep up with the whole cast of characters who are not quite they seem but you’re not quite let in on the secret of their special ‘skills’ just yet.

This is a series that I think I’ll be continuing with. IF not just for Nick but for the brief cameo appearances by Kyrian, Ash and Tabitha.

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository


Book Review: Otherkin by Nina Berry

Title: Otherkin (Otherkin #1)
Author: Nina Berry
Genre: Paranormal romance, shifters, magic
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: July 2012 (I received this book as a digital ARC from NetGalley)
Pages: 320
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
I thought I knew myself. Then I met Caleb.

Dez is a good girl who does as she’s told and tries not to be noticed.
Then she rescues a boy from a cage, and he tells her secrets about herself.
Now inside her burns a darkness that will transform her.

Everything is about to change — and neither Caleb, nor the Otherkin, nor those who hunt them are prepared for what Dez will unleash.

My Review:

This book starts with a bang.

Dez gets asked out on her first date, finds out she can shift into a tiger, gets kidnapped, shifts for the second time and manages to escape her abductors with the boy from the cage alongside in tow. All in the first couple of pages.

And the fast paced story just continues along at breakneck speed.

The action and suspense create a very exciting story where at times it seems as if you blink and you would miss a lot of important stuff that happens. For me it was a bit too much action and not enough explanation. I would have loved to have a bit more detail into a lot of the events and perhaps a but more forethought into the consequences. It’s fantastic that the characters are so spontaneous but there were times when I couldn’t quite work out why they were doing the things they were doing – and I’m not entirely sure that the characters understood it either.

I didn’t like how the romance unfolded in this novel. As with everything else, it just happened too quickly with no explanation why or any growth. It was only as I reached the end of the novel that I really started to feel that either Dez or Caleb even really knew who the other person was and it just wasn’t happening for the sake of having a romance sub-plot.

This book was an interesting and enjoyable read but I just felt that I would have enjoyed it more had the pace been slowed down a little and instead of all the action scenes there was a bit more discussion. About the characters, the concept of the Shadows, and about the relationships between the characters – not just that of  Dez and Caleb but also those between Dez and the minor characters, and between the minor characters themselves.

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

Title: The Summoning (Darkest Powers Trilogy #1)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, 
Publisher: HarperCollins; Atom
Publication Date: April 2009
Pages: 360
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
If you had met me a few weeks ago, you probably would have described me as an average teenage girl — someone normal. Now my life has changed forever and I’m as far away from normal as it gets. I’m a living science experiment — not only can I see ghosts, but I was genetically altered by a sinister organization call the Edison Group. What does that mean? For starters. I’m a teenage necromancer whose powers are out of control: I raise the dead without even trying. Trust me, that is not a power you want to have. Ever.

Now I’m running for my life with three of my supernatural friends – a charming sorcerer, a cynical werewolf, and a disgruntled witch – and we have to find someone who can help us before the Edison Group finds us first. Or die trying.

My Review:

I think the Darkest Powers trilogy is going to go down as one of my favourite YA paranormal series.

The Awakening picks up at the exact moment that the first book in the series, The Summoning, finishes – with Chloe stuck in the institution after a somewhat failed break out attempt from Lyle House and the heartbreaking betrayal from Chloe’s aunt.

Now, with her every move being monitored by the staff and no escape routes visible, Chloe needs to deal with the ghosts that won’t leave her alone and her anxiety over Simon’s health and Derek’s “condition” whilst they are on the run. Not one to sit around and pout, Chloe – with the help of Liz’s ghost – needs finds a way to get out, find the boys and get to the bottom of what the sinister scientists are up to.

For me, this book had what The Summoning was lacking. It was exciting, fast paced and suspenseful. I picked this book up when I couldn’t sleep, vowing only to read a few chapters… next thing I knew it was 3am and I’d finished it.

I complained about Chloe coming across as a little bland in the first book but she’s completely redeemed herself in my eyes. I found that I enjoyed getting to see her embrace her ghost busting powers more and more as well as not letting anyone who was bigger and badder than her push her around.

Derek is a character that I adored after the first book and now I like him even more. He and the other supporting characters have issues and complicated pasts. It makes them somewhat real in an unreal and paranormal world. Tori, Simon and the others are an incredibly mismatched group but their bickering entertained me and I loved the fact that they were flawed and kept their grudges despite their current circumstances.

As a fan of Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series, I was thrilled to read the slight crossover that occurred in this novel (Clayton’s reputation precedes him!) and makes perfect sense to the plot of this story.

This book is not one that can be read as a stand alone – there is a lot that is assumed knowledge from the first book in the series – but is a fantastic story that includes some of my favourite supernatural creatures, exciting plot and interesting characters.

I jumped online and bought the third book as soon as I finished reading….

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository